Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Oxford City 2-2 AFC Totton, 17/12/11 3pm


There was a pitch inspection the morning of the day of this game. Thankfully it was passed and the game could go ahead as planned. Oxford City are doing very nicely in the league so far this season, and are level on points with Totton. If you were at the reverse fixture at the Testwood Stadium back in August you might find that a bit hard to believe, as Totton triumphed 6-0 that day. The Stags brushed Oxford aside with relative ease and notched up their biggest league win of the season so far. But Oxford have pushed on from that freak result and are now a real contender at the top of the table.

Oxford made all the early running without really testing Grant Porter. Totton soon got themselves into the game with Tom Baddeley and Mike Gosney linking up well down the left on a few occasions to put crosses into the box. Totton won a free kick, but Gosney was denied by Oxford goalkeeper Jason Mooney. Michael Charles then came close from another set piece a his header was just over the bar.

Oxford came back at Totton on 15 minutes when Adam Learoyd sent a header straight at Porter, and then good play from Darren Pond and Liam Malone resulted in an Andy Ballard long throw-in that was scuffed wide by Pond.

A minute later though, Oxford's pressure paid off. Lee Steele won a throw-in off Tom Baddeley and Ballard was the one to launch it into the box once again. This time the ball fell for Steele in a penalty box that more resembled a quagmire, but the mud stopped the ball from bouncing and Wayne Blossom reacted swiftly to drive a shot across goal and into the bottom corner.

Totton reacted well to falling behind and a cross from Gosney almost resulted in an equaliser but Nathaniel Sherborne's effort was just wide of the post. Oxford replied when Michael Lyon crossed for Pond to head the ball down for Steele but his shot on the volley was held comfortably by Porter. 

Totton then hit Oxford on the counter attack when a solid but fair tackle by Jamie Whisken set up Ryan Hill to charge forward but he was eventually brought to a halt by a foul on the edge of the box. Gosney stepped up again but fired the free kick over the bar. 

After a period of scrappy play from both sides, Totton grabbed an equaliser on the break. A long ball down the right from Hill was headed away by Blossom but the ball got bogged down on the muddy surface and Michael Charles collected the loose ball and ran to the by-line. He managed to get goal-side of the defender marking him and shot across goal. Mooney got down to push it away but the ball fell to Sherborne who planted a first time shot into the far corner.

After surviving a couple of Totton corners, Oxford went on the counter attack before winning a free kick on the right flank. Marvin Martin swung the ball over to the far post and it was knocked back across goal to Lee Steele who fired home first time into the far corner for the half time lead.

Half time: Oxford City 2-1 AFC Totton

Totton came out fighting in the second half and Gosney got in behind the defence only to find Mooney with his cross. Oxford found it difficult to beat the Totton defence, with balls over the top being dealt with comfortably by  Jamie Whisken and Ian Richardson. 

Totton didn't make the most of their chances though, with the ball too often ending up going behind for a goal kick after good goalscoring opportunities had been created.Felipe Barcelos came on to replace Michael Lyon and almost made an immediate impact when he beat the Totton offside trap and ran clear but was unable to get a shot on goal before the defence got back to halt his progress. 

Totton came back again and Carl Pettefer crossed for Michael Charles who headed wide from a good position and moments later Ryan Hill's free kick was tipped around the post by Mooney's acrobatic dive.

Oxford's substitutions seemed to be paying off and when Alex Fisher replaced Declan Benjamin he appeared to be in on goal but was halted by the offside flag, and seconds later he forced Porter into an excellent save when his curling effort was deflected and the keeper had to correct his footing to make the stop.

Totton were well on top for long periods of the second half and even Porter was hitting regular long balls into the City penalty area as they searched for a second equaliser. Oxford just couldn't get the ball clear and, whenever they did, it came straight back at them.

As the game moved into added time, Totton won two corners in quick succession but both were comfortably held by Mooney. A low cross then skidded across the face of goal without anyone getting a touch on it and a couple more crosses ended up on the roof of the stand, drawing frustrated groans from the travelling Stag Army behind the goal. 

Mooney then did well to back-track and get a hand on Nathan Campbell’s looping header and tip it behind for another corner. From the corner, a clearance fell kindly for Sherborne and he thought he'd scored when his shot seemed destined for the back of the net when Mooney dived far to his right to make an almost impossible save to touch it behind for yet another Totton corner.

The ball was delivered for the umpteenth corner of the game and, from a position similar to Sherborne's chance seconds earlier, Ryan Hill smashed a volley past Mooney’s dive and into the top corner before being mobbed by his team mates and sparking scenes of delirium from the Totton fans.

Full time: Oxford City 2-2 AFC Totton

For the second time in a week, Oxford were denied all 3 points by a last minute equaliser, having done the same against Chesham in midweek. For Totton, it was a well deserved point and, were it not for Jason Mooney in the Oxford goal, we could have won this one quite comfortably. Our next game is not until Boxing Day (Monday 26th Dec) when we play Bashley at the Testwood Stadium in our local derby this season. Hopefully you won't all have eaten too much to drag yourself to the game or drank too much to form a coherent sentence! Merry Christmas everyone!

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Richardson, Whisken, Baddeley (Sampson 81), Campbell, Pettefer, Gosney, Brown, Sherborne, Charles. Unused subs: Casey, Sturgess, McKie, Jack.

Oxford City: Mooney, Blossom, Learoyd, Ballard, Pond, Wilmott, Lyon (Barcelos 52), Malone, Benjamin (Fisher 66), Steele, Martin. Unused subs: Fleet, McLoughlin, Heapy.

Oxford: Blossom (15), Steele (45)
Totton: Sherborne (34), Hill (90)

Officials: Referee: Mr M Foley. Assistants: Mr P Andrew & Mr A Hickham.

Attendance: 243.

No comments:

Post a Comment